Lions inactives: Team gets boost from returning linebackers; Jackson and Walker inactive
Detroit — The Detroit Lions are back to full strength at linebacker with both Alex Anzalone and Jalen Reeves-Maybin active for Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Reeves-Maybin returns after a two-game absence due to a shoulder injury, while Anzalone missed most of last week's game against Denver after suffering an ankle sprain in the first half.
Those returns figure to push Josh Woods back to a reduced role after he recorded a career-high 13 tackles against the Broncos.
While the starting linebackers are back in the fold, the Lions will still be without Tracy Walker, who had been activated off the COVID/reserve list on Saturday. He has been one of Detroit's best defensive players in 2021, amassing 78 tackles and five pass breakups in 12 games.
While out of the lineup last week, Walker was replaced by Jalen Elliott, who similarly ended up on the COVID list this Thursday and will be sidelined Sunday.
With a full week of practice, Ifeatu Melifonwu would typically be the obvious solution, but since he's been out and unable to practice due to his bout with COVID, the team could turn to Saivion Smith instead. The newcomer was claimed off waivers from the 49ers earlier in the week.
Also out for the Lions against Arizona is guard Jonah Jackson. He was listed as questionable coming into the day with a back injury that sidelined him the full week of practice. He had been the only Lions player who hadn't missed an offensive snap this season prior to Sunday.
Detroit's inactives were rounded out by running back D'Andre Swift (shoulder) and outside linebacker Julian Okwara (ankle), who had both been ruled out with injuries on Friday, as well as healthy scratches Trinity Benson, David Blough and Will Holden.